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What’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

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Last updated on December 2, 2019

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“When he first said my diagnosis, I couldn’t believe it. There must be another PTSD than post-traumatic stress disorder, I thought. I have only heard of war veterans who have served on the front lines and seen the horrors of battle being diagnosed with PTSD. I am a Beverly Hills housewife, not a soldier. What’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? I can’t have PTSD. Well, I was wrong. Housewives can get PTSD, too, and yours, truly did.”

Taylor Armstrong, Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within

What’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

So you’re wondering what’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Let’s imagine for a moment.

Imagine being in a state of perpetual alert and always feeling as if danger could crop up at any moment.
Imagine you can’t sleep, feel prickly and snap at people for no reason.
Imagine…startling easily at even the slightest thing, your body always tensed up, your mind always alert…

These are a few of the symptoms people develop when they have a condition called PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Sometimes, not always, a condition called Acute Stress Disorder precedes PTSD.
Both these disorders are types of anxiety disorders and are diagnosed at separate points in time after a traumatic experience.

According to Stephanie S. Covington, “Trauma is any stressor that occurs in a sudden and forceful way and is experienced as overwhelming.”

Acute Stress Disorder is diagnosed within one month following a traumatic event.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is diagnosed after one month of symptoms displaying following a traumatic event.

This article, as per the title, will focus on what’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms?

Besides experiencing a traumatic event, there are also specific symptoms that must be displayed in order for a professional to diagnose your condition as PTSD.

It is not a given that these symptoms will develop exactly a month after a traumatic event.
Symptoms can reveal themselves years later as well!

These symptoms are subdivided into four different clusters (a cluster is just a fancy term for a category or bundle).

These are:

Intrusion symptoms

-> You constantly have painful memories or frequent nightmares of the terrible event.

-> Reminders of the event causes your body to react physically, such as an increased heartbeat or sweating.

-> Reminders will also cause you strong feelings of distress and angst.

-> You feel as if the event is taking place all over again. This is often referred to as flashbacks.


-> You consciously avoid thoughts, feelings, or talking about the specific event.

-> You also deliberately avoid any places or individuals that remind you of the event.

-> You constantly keep yourself busy to avoid having to think about the event. This can lead to exhaustion.

-> You may have memory loss pertaining to certain parts of the traumatic event.


-> You struggle to sleep.

-> You feel irritated and have anger outbursts for no reason.

-> You find it hard to concentrate.

-> You’re always on guard and never feel safe.

-> You startle easily.

Negative thought patterns and behavior

-> You may display symptoms of depression.

-> You feel distant from others and yourself.

-> You struggle to feel joy, gratitude, or affection.

-> You lose enthusiasm for a lot of things you formerly enjoyed.

With all these symptoms your body will constantly be in fight-or-flight mode. This is not healthy for you – both psychologically and physically.

Next, let’s review your body’s fight-or-flight response.

What is fight-or-flight response?

Walter Bradford Cannon, an American physiologist, professor and former chairperson of the Department of Physiology at Harvard Medical School, first coined this term in the early 1900s.

He published his book, Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear, and Rage: An Account of Recent Researches into the Function of Emotional Excitement, in 1915.
In it, he described the fight-or-flight response as an animal’s response to threats or danger.
The response helps the animal prepare for fleeing or fighting in times of expected or unexpected threat.

It has since been established that these type of responses are accurate for humans too.

Your brain will perceive a threatening situation and cause your nervous system to release a bunch of cortisone and adrenaline hormones.
These will cause you to experience many bodily reactions as your body prepares for either fleeing or attacking.
Here are just a few reactions you may encounter:

  • Dilation of pupils
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Accelerated breathing
  • Shaking or shivering
  • Tunnel vision
  • Your bladder may relax, causing you to…you know…

To top everything off, the body is truly an amazing vessel.

The fight-or-flight response causes the body to activate physiological changes too.
These give you increased strength and speed!
You need this whether you choose to fight or run away.
What’s more, the blood clotting function speeds up to help avoid excessive blood loss, should you sustain any injuries. Amazing!

What’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Diagnosis Criteria?

To receive a diagnosis for PTSD, you must display a certain number of symptoms from each cluster.

  • At least one intrusion symptom
  • At least one symptom of avoidance
  • At least two symptoms of hyperarousal
  • At least two mood symptoms

Your doctor will also ask you a series of questions, which will also help to rule out the possibility that something else might cause your symptoms such as substance abuse.

Diagnosis will also depend on how long you have displayed the symptoms and how you are coping with everything.

If you suspect you or a loved one might suffer from PTSD, please get a professional diagnosis from your GP or mental health practitioner as soon as possible.

What’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatments and is there a cure?

There is, unfortunately, no cure for PTSD, however, there are many treatment options available that will help you cope with the symptoms and teach you to effectively manage them to a point where you can function normally.

AnxietyPanda prefers and recommends Cognitive Behavioral therapies above medication, however it has been proven that receiving a combination of these treatments are most effective to combat the symptoms of PTSD.

At the end of the day, the treatment method/s will depend on your specific individual needs.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is a popular form of treatment for PTSD and you can receive it as one-on-one therapy, group therapy or even online therapy.

It is sometimes referred to as Talking Therapy and consists of two parts:

-> Cognitive Psychology – You talk with your therapist and they challenge and help modify any distorted thought patterns that have arisen due to the traumatic experience. Your therapist might also choose to educate you about the condition and teach you coping mechanisms for times of emergency.

-> Behavioral Therapy – You will gradually get exposed to the memories of the traumatic event until you are no longer distressed by them. Doing this in an environment where you feel safe and secure is key, and what better place than with your therapist.

Usually, between 8 and 12 CBT sessions are needed to effectively deal with PTSD. The sessions usually last between 60 and 90 minutes each.

The number of sessions will depend on each individual’s needs.

If you find it hard to talk about your experience, there is another form of cognitive treatment that you can consider.

It is called Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

During such a session you will be asked to continually focus and think about the trauma-related thoughts and emotions while you watch the therapist’s fingers, or some other object they’re holding, move around.
You’re not talking, you’re merely focusing on the traumatic memories, thoughts, and feelings while watching the object move.
The fact that you’re paying attention to both these things will help you to process the traumatic event by introducing a connection between the trauma and more positive thinking.

Exercise and Mindfulness

Exercise in the form of resistance training or walking has proven to be remarkably effective for alleviating the symptoms of PTSD.
Doctors usually suggest these forms of exercise together with the other treatment options.

Not only will exercise bring relief to your PTSD symptoms, but it will also further help to relieve and improve other co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

Incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine will also do wonders at relieving your PTSD symptoms.

By practicing mindfulness, you will learn to pay attention to when symptoms emerge and learn to remain in the present moment.
This is achieved by applying breathing or mind-clearing techniques.

Mindfulness will likewise help with your decision-making skills, your short-term memory, and will allow you to respond rather than react to situations.

Using binaural beats have also proven extremely effective against combating the symptoms of PTSD.
Binaural beats work best when listened to with headphones.

Here’s a PTSD binaural treatment YouTube video. Try it! Let us know if it works for you!

Other self-help strategies you may want to try include learning techniques for breathing, relaxation, and stress management.

Why not try some Yoga combined with meditation as an all-encompassing self-help strategy?

Yoga helps you by:

-> teaching you breathing techniques that are synchronized with the movements of your body

-> your body will release endorphins

-> calming any angst and stress responses

-> building self-esteem as your body’s health increases

Meditation helps you by:

-> helping you achieve inner calmness

-> reducing stress hormones

-> helping to reduce the need for medications


You may not necessarily need medication for your PTSD, but on the slightest chance that you do, let’s take a look at what medications are usually prescribed for PTSD.

The most effective medication for PTSD is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs.

These are your antidepressants such as Citalopram and Sertraline.

It is usually recommended taking the medication for a period of 6-12 months.

After this period, you can gradually wean yourself off the tablets.

Do this with the help of your doctor and be sure to communicate any side-effects or issues with them.

Did you find this article on What’s Post Traumatic Stress Disorder helpful? Please share and subscribe. Share your views in the comments!

“Always remember, if you have been diagnosed with PTSD, it is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is proof of your strength, because you have survived!”

Michel Templet

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  1. Mr BEazzy Mr BEazzy

    Hello there. Thanks for sharing this awesome article about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The truth is I have heard some few persons mentioned PSTD severally but never actually knew what it means. This article did justice to my ignorance. This article is educative.

    One question. My friend, she gets scared when I dodge into her shop to meet her (she never really thought anybody was there and gets shocked when she sees me). It has happened several times. I want to know if it’s a possibility that she has PSTD? Thanks for sharing…

    • AnxietyPanda AnxietyPanda

      Hi Mr BEazzy!

      If you suspect any symptoms, it’s best that she consults with a professional for a diagnosis 🙂 That said, usually diagnosis of PTSD entails having more than one of the symptoms present. 

      Your friend getting scared when you walk into her shop is only one symptom. This most probably mean that she is just got a fright, perhaps she was thinking deeply about something when you walked in. However if she displays more symptoms as mentioned in this article, AnxietyPanda suggests seeking a medical diagnosis.

  2. Brenda Brenda

    Only someone who has suffered from this could truly explain how awful this really is. Hearing from someone I knew with this disorder, ‘it literally takes over your life’, the person explained. It’s like that person transformed. You want to help but don’t know how to. What I know helps is psychological consultation and definitely stress relieving excercises. Constant reminders of trigger factors will always takes the affected person one step backed. With stress disorders, time is the master, support and being nonjudgmental.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Daniel Daniel

    This is very instructive and helpful article Michel. Luckily, I don’t have any of these symptoms but I know one person who have and it is very sad. I want to ask you what to do if that person don’t want to visit a doctor simply because he/she don’t believe that he have this disorder?

    • AnxietyPanda AnxietyPanda

      Dear Daniel,

      AnxietyPanda is sorry to hear about your friend.
      AnxietyPanda believes that your best bet would be to be as supportive and understanding as you can be. Educate your friend on the condition and the symptoms. Perhaps show him or her a clip on youtube about the condition.

      Please don’t try to force them. They have to want to get the help themselves, otherwise it may cause a rift between you and cause them to mistrust your intentions.

      All the best, keep in touch

  4. Olonisakin Kehinde Olonisakin Kehinde

    I have seen people who suffer from PTSD , it is a great stealer of peace and comfort. 

    Suffering from post taumatic stress disorder makes you awful, you tend to avoid specific events that may trigger toughts of the conditios that caused the traunaer, prevent situations that aggravates aggression because it can trigger an awkward behaviour.

    This situation can be helped by medications…… Monitored medication because the victim have 90% chances to become drug addicts. Proper relaxation and exercise can also help to ease instances of triggering the disorder. 

  5. Emmanuel Buysse Emmanuel Buysse

    Great post and very good info.

    In the worls of today people don’t know how hard PTSD can hit you, you are described as a weakling.

    I know from a good friend that was treated like this by his boss, after losing his brother in a car accident, and he saw it happen.

    It is really good you make these kind of posts, to make people realize that this can be a causd of serious depression or even suicide thoughts.

    Thanks for sharing it!

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